Hindsight is always the worst- the shoulda coulda woulda’s. It would be so nice to always learn from other people’s mistakes rather than making your own. But – that’s not how life works and it’s so dang fun to make mistakes because it rocket fuels you to pure joy. That being said, I do wish I had a little 30 something version of myself whispering sweet nothings from the shoulder of my 20 something self.
There are staple pieces of advice you can learn from those who’ve come before you and are willing the share the nitty gritty of their experiences. While I’m all in favor of mistake making, rule breaking, and a messy path – I can confidently look back and say these are some of the truest, most valuable nuggets of advice I’d still confirm at age 90:
- Should you choose to partner up, whom you choose as your life partner is one of the most important decisions you can ever make. If your midst dating or in the infancy of a relationship – those butterflies, or the angst of what to text back is thrilling, but not real, and most likely acute anxiety (sorry I know it’s exciting). It can of course turn into love, but that feeling alone is not just uncomfortable but not sustainable. Stay away from the person causing a fire in your stomach, stay far away, it’s not sexy over time. It’s the man whipping around in a car when you get a call of a family emergency who shouts out “Get in girl, we got this” is what you should be chasing. Mark my words; life is so flipping fun, and when it’s not you need the real deal by your side to Bonnie and Clyde it.
- Find what you’re really good at. It’s most likely the traits you never see because they come so easily to you and are enjoyable. Use this as your springboard to fuel a career. The statement “If you enjoy what you do, the money will come” is half true. You need to be wise and strategic to identify it first.
- There WILL be people who don’t like you, and that’s ok. What others think of you, is none of your business. There are also others that will not believe in you, that’s ok too. It’s not that they don’t believe in you, it’s that they don’t believe in themselves.
- Choose your tribe wisely and build a community you thrive in. You will go through waves of friends, but it’s the ones that leave you feeling good about life that you should be nourishing. Life changes, people move, families grow- but if you have the right members of your tribe, they grow with you and enhance your life. Be open to new friendships along the way, these can be just as life changing.
- Getting to know yourself is the most important thing you can do. Cliche, yes, but take time to yourself to find out that inner voice. Self care is also the best way to do this – doing things that feed your soul. Stay active, eat well, do weird things that fire you up inside. A relationship with yourself is by far the most rewarding. Think about infants… before their parents come to get them from their crib in the morning, they are typically caught talking and playing all by themselves. Find time to connect with yourself no matter what your age.
- Be wise with your finances. For those starting out in a new career or never starting saving, start a 401k and max out – you’ll never miss the money you don’t see. If not a 401k, there are many other means of saving & investing. Get yourself a financial adviser.
- Get out of what’s comfortable and experience life – you pretty much have an entire planet to explore. Even if it’s taking a new route to work, travel where and when you can.
- Learn to have boundaries. This will become more clear as you get older but learning when to stand your ground will help your friendships, romantic, and business relationships. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
- When you take on a commitment, give it 100% of yourself. If you fail, you know you gave it your all and that failure becomes a success. You’ve successfully learned what you’re not meant for.
- Live in the moment. Still working on this one, but as humans we tend to plan, think, and ruminate over life. Let go of this during key moments. I remember walking down the aisle towards my now husband and I had never been so present. There was nothing left to plan, nothing to think about, I felt free. If you have kids, think about when you’re rushing them out the door to soccer practice or scrounging up their lunch- you’re in the midst of making the best memories of your life. Enjoy them in the moment, not as glorified memories.
What would you share with your younger self?